‘Simpsons’ cast gets more “D’oh”

The Simpsons cast has signed a four-year deal that sees the voice actors receiving a hefty salary bump and ensures a 20th season of the animated series.

Production has been delayed for several months as the cast negotiated with 20th Century Fox TV. The new pact will pay top actors $400,000 per episode. This is markedly lower than the reported $500,000 the cast originally sought, but significantly higher than their current pay rates that hovered around the mid-$300,000 range.

The deal means most of the key members of The Simpsons cast will be returning: Dan Castellaneta (Homer), Julie Kavner (Marge), Nancy Cartwright (Bart), Yeardley Smith (Lisa), Hank Azaria (Moe) and Harry Shearer (Mr. Burns). All were back to work for the show’s first table read Monday morning.

Shearer is still working out elements of his deal but a sealed agreement is expected shortly.

Additionally, Castellaneta was named consulting producer on the series. He will now serve as a writer, in addition to continuing as a voice performer.

Even though the actors have signed a four-year deal, there is no guarantee the series will be back beyond this season. The show’s deal with Fox expires at the end of season 20 and has not been renewed for the upcoming year.

Finally, this season will be reduced by two episodes because of the delay. Therefore, only 20 episodes of The Simpsons will be produced instead of the usual 22.

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